Friday, October 4, 2013

Sangiovese, Duchman Family Winery, Texas

The legendary red grape used to make Chianti; Sangiovese, grows well in Texas!  I pour and pair this wine like a Pinot Noir from other parts of the world.  It is very easy to drink, it can be enjoyed by itself at cocktail hour and it pairs beautifully with a wide range of cuisine.  What I really love about this wine and Texas Sangiovese in general is that it does not have as high an acidity level as it's Italian counterparts and the grape vine is genius at taking the minrality from limestone and wrapping the fruit flavors into a cohesive delicious wine.  (Not every vine can do this.  I am not going to name names like Cab-er-nay ;-)

  • Sweet Cherry 
  • Tart Cherry
  • Cranberry
  • Red Apple
  • Spice
  • Minrality
Founded in 2004 by Drs. Lisa and Stan Duchman, pronounced “Dukeman.” Their love of the unique Italian grape varieties inspired them to work with viticultural consultant Bobby Cox and growers in the Texas High Planes AVA to use 100% Texas grapes that will allow winemaker Dave Reilly to make the best possible wines!!!

“If that were all cultivated, Texas could produce more wine than all of California.” - BOBBY COX, Texas High Plains Grape Grower

Dream big, Bobby!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Texas WineMonth- Austin Quote

“Nature seemed to have intended Texas for a vineyard to supply America with vines.” Stephen F. Austin. I love this quote. The exact wording and context the Founding Father of Texas said it in is not as important to me as the mindset and experience these words reveal. Mr. Austin and his contemporaries won Texas' independence and were "hacking their living out of the wilderness with their own two hands, burying their children along the way!" (to quote Hawkeye in The Last of the Mohicans. (Great movie!)) Many of them were new immigrants from the Old World; Germany, France, Spain, Italy and other homelands. Some were from places just as hot and dry as Texas, and they had grown vines and made wine in the Old World! They looked around the Texas landscape and could easily imagine vast vineyards here too. Prior to Prohibition, Texas had almost fifty commercial wineries! This was the beginning of what would have been a great industry for our state. Prohibition closed all but one winery; Val Verde in Del Rio.

In the years immediately after Prohibition the California wine industry grew exponentially. They have done a incredible job; growing grapes, vinifying wine and marketing their wine and state. Today they make ninety percent of the wine in the U.S.A. Most wine drinkers in North America who think about wine are really thinking about California wine. Because of this many think that wine country has to be as cool and as wet like California. This is NOT TRUE, there are other regions in the world hot and dry like Texas and they make world class wines. I encourage you to look for Texas wines that are taking their inspiration from these other regions. You might have to go outside your comfort zone and drink a wine other than Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet or Merlot. But, you will be okay and you might even find a Viognier, Roussanne, Blanc du Bois, Trebbianno, Picpoul Blanc, Syrah, Tempranillo, Malbec, Sangiovese, Lenoir (a.k.a. Black Spanish) or Aglianico grown in Texas that you love even more than those California wines! And, who knows, maybe someday Texas wineries will make enough wine to begin shipping them to the other states in our union and other countries! Achieving that elusive dream that started back when Texas was a brand new state (country.)

Please follow my blog; I will have more to share with you about Texas, wine and the lessons we learn along the way.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Texas Wine Month- Plant! Baby, plant!!!

Welcome to Texas Wine Month!  The most important thing for you to know about the Texas Wine Country is that there is a shortage of grape vines growing in Texas soil.  Texas needs more grape vines!  We have many great grape growers working hard and supplying great raw materials for the talented winemakers.  I want to encourage them and thank them for hard work they are doing.  Working outdoors in Texas is not easy, the heat alone keeps many indoors.  Add to this the other weather challenges, the pests, wild life and more.  I admire you strength, determination and true grit to do the work it takes to grow vines here in Texas.  You are doing a great job!  We are tasting better wines every vintage.

The simple math is that today we may have five thousand acres under vine and the current estimate on demand is that the wineries can sell as much wine that would come from eighteen to twenty thousand acres of vines!  Even if these numbers are a little high you can see there is still a great need for more grape vines growing in Texas soil.  So, this Texas Wine Month I call you to drink more Texas wine, visit Texas wineries, thank the wineries for the wine they make, thank the growers for the grapes they grow AND encourage all of them to plant more vines in Texas.  Plant baby! Plant!!!

Digital Wine List...

Earlier this year I had a brush with the potential of having a digital wine list for our guests and the concept has captured my imagination!

Truth be told; today all wine list are digital. Sommeliers are using some form of computer program to log, arrange and track the wines in their charge. There is a divide or canyon between the printed list the guest uses to select wine from and the digital one the sommelier uses. The good news is that this divide is closing; we are beginning to see distal list in the hands of customers. This can take the form of a Ipad or other tablet to other electronic devices. This is one of the challenges; the cost of the hardware is significant. While thinking about this dynamic and watching our customers in the resort; I realize that the vast majority of our customers are already "packing" their own hardware. So then, why wouldn't our guest want to access our digital wine list with their own device? This is how and why I have added the wine list page to my blog page. Please; click on the link below and give me your feedback.  Do you find this list helpful?  How can it be better?